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Energy Access for the Developing World

What’s the best way to bring energy to those in the developing world who lack it? Why do forecasts by agencies like IEA always seem to overstate the cost of solutions in the developing world? Why do big expensive programs run by NGOs and the World Bank so often fail to achieve their aims of alleviating energy poverty? Why do those programs always seem to favor big coal plants, nuclear plants, CCS projects, and other big-ticket items that never seem to get built? And what’s actually getting the job done, right now, in places like sub-Saharan Africa? What are the prospects for those efforts in the future? We answer these questions and more…like where Bill Gates goes wrong with his zero-carbon equation.

Geek rating: 2

Guest: Justin Guay, Program Officer on Climate for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation

On Twitter: @Guay_JG

On the Web:

Recording date: February 28, 2016


Justin Guay, Huffington Post: “Who will be the Amazon, Netflix of East Africa?” (Feb 29, 2016)

Justin Guay, Huffington Post: “Will Data Unlock Billions in Solar Investment for the Poor?” (Dec 16, 2015)

Justin Guay, Huffington Post: “Will Silicon Valley Take On Clean Energy Access?” (May 28, 2015)

Justin Guay, et al., Sierra Club:Expanding Energy Access Beyond the Grid” (Aug 2014)

Justin Guay, et al., Sierra Club:Clean Energy Services for All: Financing Universal Electrification” (Jun 2014)

Morgan Bazilian, Foreign Affairs: “Power to the Poor” (Mar/Apr 2015)

The World Bank: “Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Global Tracking Framework” (May 2013)

Eric Wesoff, Greentech Media: “Off Grid Electric Raises $45M in Debt for African Micro-Solar Leasing Platform” (Dec 17, 2016)

Kevin Watkins: DfID’s new Energy Africa campaign is right to look to off-grid solar power” (Oct 29, 2015)

M-KOPA press release: “M-KOPA Launches Solar-Powered TV” (Feb 17, 2016)

Jacob Winiecki:Four Ways Energy Access Can Propel Financial Inclusion” (May 26, 2015)

Laura Geggel, Yahoo! News: “Bill Gates ‘Discovers’ 14-Year-Old Formula on Climate Change” (Feb 29, 2016)

Chris Nelder:Watts Up, Vaclav? — My critique of Vaclav Smil” (Jun 6, 2013) “The State of the Global Off-Grid Appliance Market” (Feb 29, 2016)

Herman Trabish, Utility Dive: “Taming the Wild West: CAISO begins study of a full regional electricity market” (Feb 22, 2016)

Liam Denning, Bloomberg: “Buffett’s Cash Overshadows Solar” (Mar 3, 2016)

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